Monthly Archives: September 2016

Omelette Arnold Bennett

When I happened upon this recipe, the intro read that ‘everyone must make this at least once in their lives’ – quite a statement but having tried it, I completely agree. Unlike any omelette I have ever tried, this is rich, sumptuous and very satisfying – we felt like we were eating a luxurious treat rather than a family meal. We had it for a supper but I think it would be best enjoyed as a weekend breakfast, surrounded by the papers and with coffee brewing in the corner – sounds like a wonderful start to the day. Planning it now….

Serves 2

What you need…

300ml semi-skimmed milk

2 cloves

2 bay leaves

A few parsley stalks

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

260g smoked haddock

4 happy eggs, plus 2 happy egg yolks

40g butter

15g plain flour

Handful Parmesan, grated

Parsley, chopped, to garnish

What to do…

Heat the milk in a saucepan with the cloves, bay leaves, parsley stalks and onion. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, pop on a lid and set aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Return the pan to a moderate heat and bring the milk to a gentle simmer. Place the smoked haddock in, remove from the heat, pop the lid on again and allow the fish to cook in the cooling milk. Once the fish is cooked and cool enough to handle, remove it from the milk and flake it into a bowl. Set aside. Strain the milk through a sieve and retain. Discard the onion and herbs.

Meanwhile, whisk the 4 whole eggs in a bowl.

Then, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt a third of the butter. Tip in the flour and stir in, cooking over a moderate heat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring the whole time until it has all been incorporated. Keep over a low heat for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Tip in the whisked eggs and cook them until they are just cooked at the bottom but liquid on top. Add the flaked fish and sprinkle over the Parmesan. Add the two egg yolks to the sauce combine before pouring the sauce over the omelette. Place the frying pan under a hot grill to finish cooking the eggs and allowing the top to glaze. (This part of the process was interrupted as the burglar alarm in our new house went off and the omelette was only just saved in the ensuing mayhem – hence the poor photograph!)

Enjoy. What bliss the marriage of smoked haddock and eggs with the rich, creamy sauce. Scrumptious!

How Omelette Arnold Bennett came about…

Classic dishes don’t get any more quintessentially British than the Omelette Arnold Bennett. It was created in 1930 at London’s Savoy Hotel. Prolific writer, Arnold Bennett was staying at the hotel, using the location as the backdrop to the book that he was writing. One day, feeling particularly hungry, he asked the breakfast waiter for an omelette with a little more substance than usual and chef, Jean Baptiste Virlogeux, created this sumptuous little number. The Savoy still serves it every day and its fame is such that it features on menus both sides of the Atlantic.

Inspired by…

James Winter, who in turn was inspired by Jean Baptiste Virlogeux

How easy…

It’s not difficult but it is fiddly and requires 3 pans and 2 bowls, so it’s also messy. That said, it’s absolutely worth the clearing up.

Phad Thai Noodles with Seafood

Full of fresh, healthy flavours and zinging with the spiciness of the orient, this is a jewel of a midweek family supper dish and is so quick and easy to throw together. And you can make it as much of an extravagance as you want, simply with your choice of seafood. I majored on scallops and prawns – yummy!

What you need…

175g Thai rice noodles

150g sugar snap peas, cut thinly on the diagonal

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2.5cm-piece fresh ginger, grated

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

150g shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly, lengthways

100g beansprouts

400g mixed seafood

2 tablespoons sherry

4 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Juice of 1 lime

What to do…

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions – mine took 12 minutes in simmering water. Add the sugar snap peas 1 minute before the end.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until very hot. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, leek and beansprouts and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring the whole time.

Add the seafood to the pan together with the sherry, soy sauce, oyster sauce and lime juice.

When the seafood is cooked through, reduce the heat to low. Drain the noodles and sugar snap peas and add them to the pan, stirring all the ingredients together so that they are evenly mixed.

Serve and enjoy the delight that is this lovely supper dish!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry who, in turn, was inspired by Ken Hom

How easy…

Wok it and see – dead easy!

Bear’s Knock Out Chocolate Mousse

OK, so this isn’t strictly cooking but I’m forgiving myself on the basis that we are moving house and I’m not a super hero! Also, this mousse is luscious, divine, ridiculously easy and delivers instant gratification! Sooooooo rich, dense and simply delicious, the recipe comes from adventurer, Bear Grylls in answer to the question, “What would be the one recipe you would pass on?” I’ve made two, but you could easily make four, using shot glasses, serving them with raspberries perhaps. Whatever way you choose, give this mousse a whirl – I dare you not to fall in love with it!!!!

Serves 2

What you need…

2 eggs

4 slightly heaped tablespoons cacao powder

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

What to do…

Pop all the ingredients in a bowl. Use an electric handheld whisk to beat all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

Divide between either 2 or 4 pretty glasses. Pop in the fridge to chill.

Take a teaspoon, dig in, revel in the rich lusciousness of this gorgeous mousse. Repeat until it’s all gone. Feel blessed that something so simple is sooooooo good!

How easy…

Ridiculously – it takes literally 3 minutes

Inspired by…

Adventurer, Bear Grylls

Smoked Salmon and Hake Kedgeree

I saw Mary do this on Saturday Kitchen Best Bites a couple of weeks ago and thought it looked delicious. Previously, fish, rice and eggs didn’t have any great appeal, I’ll be honest, but this is a truly lovely dish. The primary fish is supposed to be smoked haddock but I couldn’t get hold of any so replaced it with hake, which tastes totally different, but hey, it’s my kitchen and we loved it! The dish is really flavoursome with the combination of the hake and smoked salmon – the quantities of which haven’t been skimped upon – and the inclusion of the wonderfully aromatic cardamom pods which evoke a gently warm, spicy-sweet flavour. The sweet, crunchy fried onions, fresh coriander and warm egg finish this kedgeree off beautifully: it’s both comforting and enticing, all in one – a great supper dish!

Serves 4

What you need…

2 large, happy eggs

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

3 onions: 2 thinly sliced and finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

400g hake fillet

100g smoked salmon

250g basmati and wild rice

4 cardamom pods, split

1 cinnamon stick (about 3cm long)

450ml cold water

½ teaspoon turmeric

Knob of butter

2 tablespoons mascarpone

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

Paprika, to taste

Squeeze of lemon juice

What to do…

Boil eggs for about six minutes, drain, run under cold water and then set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the 2 sliced onions slowly, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are crisp and deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and tip onto kitchen roll. Set aside in a warm place.

Whilst the onions are cooking, take a second large frying pan and pop in the hake. Just cover with water over a moderate heat and once the water begins to bubble, cover the pan and gently simmer for 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and add the smoked salmon to the pan, cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water and drain well.

In your first frying pan (used for the onions), add the remaining oil and heat at a moderate temperature. Add the chopped onion, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden brown. Stir in the rice, add the 450ml water and then the turmeric, stirring it through evenly. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low. Give it a quick stir, pop the lid on and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Take the rice off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff up the rice.

Peel and quarter the eggs.

Flake the fish into large pieces. Remove the cinnamon stick from the rice and then stir in the butter, mascarpone, coriander and fish. Add in a little paprika and then taste, adjusting the seasoning to suit. Return to a low heat, just to warm through, then serve your wonderful kedgeree with a squeeze of lemon and top with the crispy fried onions and egg quarters. Just wonderful. How have I never done this before?!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very easy, relaxing to make but does take some time.

A Little Moving Problem…

Grrrrrr – moving house and the only thing that’s keeping me sane is the ability to cook/bake, photograph and blog: am at new house with great photograph of today’s dish (a Mary Berry number) but the transfer cable from camera to computer is at the old house – of course it is. Blogging to resume on Sunday!

John’s Yorkshire Puddings Revisited

Inspired by last night’s GBBO and because the season of Sunday roast dinners is nearly upon us, I’ve decided to re-blog not one of my tweaked recipes but that of John’s Yorkshire Puddings! They’re not filled like those on telly last night but they are legendary! Family and friends get REALLY excited when they come to us for John’s Sunday Roast. Every element of the meal is wonderful, however the Yorkshires and his gravy steal the show! I’ve met many people who reckon they can’t make decent Yorkshire Puddings so I’d again urge trying this recipe – it will transform your Sunday Lunch!

This recipe makes one large Yorkshire Pudding and 12 tiddlers. I can’t tell you how many they serve – they get demolished whether there’s 6 of us, 8 or 10!!!

What you need…

1 x 20cm round baking tin and 1 x 12-hole muffin tin

Fat from top of gravy stock from the previous week’s Roast Dinner or goose fat or lard

270g plain flour

4 large eggs

275ml full fat milk and 200ml water (in the same jug)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 heaped tablespoons suet

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7. I have assumed you are using the same oven to roast your meat (we have 2 chickens).

Ideally, you will have a jug of stock from the previous week’s roast dinner and topping this will be a layer of fat. Scoop off the fat and put half a teaspoon in the bottom of the individual moulds and two dessertspoons into the ‘family-sized’ tin. (The remaining stock should be used as the base for this week’s gravy, excluding any remaining fat).

If you’re starting from scratch, do the same with either goose fat or lard.

Sift the flour into the bowl of a standalone electric mixer. (If you don’t have one, use a roomy bowl with an electric handheld whisk). Make a well and break in the eggs. Whisk slowly. Whilst whisking, gradually pour in the milk and water. Turn the speed up to medium and whisk for 2 minutes. Switch the mixer off. Using a spatula, loosen any stuck flour from the sides or bottom. Season to taste. Mix at medium speed for a further two minutes. Leave to rest until cooking time.

Pop your baking tray and muffin tin into the oven and heat until the fat is smokin’ hot!

Sprinkle the suet into the batter and give it a quick mix to evenly incorporate. Ladle the mixture into the your hot baking tin and muffin tin. Pop them both into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown. Watch those babies rise!!!!!!

Serve with your roast dinner – we don’t follow convention – Yorkshire Puddings are served with chicken, beef, suet puddings……pretty much everything!


Inspired by…

John, who in turn, tweaked Delia Smith’s recipe

How easy…

They are easy so don’t be hesitant – give them a go!




The Most Chocolatey Chocolate Muffins

Rich, sweet and moist in the middle, these muffins are absolutely gorgeous – obviously naughty and seriously chocolatey. Also, dead easy to make. The only problem is the negotiation with little people on how much mixture is left in the mixing bowl for them to ‘clean’! Enjoy – very yummy!

Makes 12 large or 18 medium muffins

What you need…

1 or 2 muffin cases (depending on the size), together with paper muffin cases

250g plain flour

200g caster sugar

200g chocolate chips

45g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

235ml plain yogurt

120ml milk

120ml rapeseed oil

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the plain flour, caster sugar, 125g chocolate chips, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Into your food processor, tip the egg, yogurt, milk and rapeseed oil and whizz until smooth. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir together. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling them up to about three quarters. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate chips.

Pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool your scrumbly muffins in their tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Demolish and enjoy!


Inspired by…

How easy…

Minimal effort for some considerable and very yummy return.

Orange Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

These cookies make for a lovely little treat and they are spectacularly easy and very fast to knock up. The cookie is crisp, rich and crumbly and then you bite into the gorgeous crunchy nuggets orange chocolate – just yummy. Make them with kids – they’re nearly instant – or make them just for yourself, if you fancy a quick hit of baking therapy! (Moving house: I needed some Cindy-in-the-kitchen time). Either way, you’ll love ‘em.

Makes around 20

What you need…

2 x baking sheets, lightly buttered or lined with Bake O Glide

175g butter, cut into cubes and soft

75g caster sugar

175g plain flour

75g semolina

85g Terry’s chocolate orange, chopped into wee nuggets

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas 5.

Tip the butter and sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and fluffy. Add in the flour and semolina and whizz again until the mixture begins to form course breadcrumbs. Scrape down the sides, remove the blade and then stir in the chocolate pieces.

Shape the mixture into around 20 walnut-sized balls and arrange on your baking sheets, leaving enough room around them to spread. Flatten them with the heel of your hand. Pop them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then use a palette knife to transfer to cooling racks.

Once cool, make yourself a large mug of tea or coffee, find a relaxing spot to sit in with your favourite book or the newspaper and enjoy some me-time, munching your way through these delicious cookies.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Childs’ play, I’d say!


Prawn Cocktail with Avocado

Hurtling back to the 1970s, this was the dinner party starter that was bang on trend! I don’t know why its popularity waned but it is definitely on the rise again now. I love it – it’s so fast and easy to put together, the sauce is pretty much from bits and pieces in the store cupboard and it tastes great – rich, smooth avocado providing the perfect foil to the fresh, tangy sauce and the plump prawns – yummy. Take a trip down memory lane with this one – it’ll be worth it!

Serves 2 as a starter

What you need…

100g cooked prawns or crayfish tails

1 avocado, halved, stone removed and then sliced

for the Marie Rose sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon salad cream

1 dessertspoon tomato ketchup

Squeeze of lemon

8 – 10 drops Tabasco sauce

Pinch of paprika (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Measure out all your Marie Rose sauce ingredients into a jug and beat together with a fork. Stir in the prawns/crayfish so they are smothered in its loveliness.

Lay out your avocado slices however you fancy and either plop the prawns and sauce on the top or to the side. Again, however you fancy. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy this simple but lovely starter!

Inspired by…

The 1970s and I think I just played with the sauce until I got it how I like it!

How easy…

Couldn’t be any easier!